I'm super behind on race recaps, so I'm going to start with my most recent race and work my way back. Therefore, I'll start with the 5k I ran this past Sunday.
This is my 4th year to run the Memphis Runners Track Club's Road Race Series. You can search back throughout the blog and see other posts about the series, but to review, it is a series of 10 races including 2 5ks, 2 5 milers, 2 10ks, 2 10 milers, and 2 halfs. It's a serious bargain to run all the races, and if you complete at least 5 of the races, you get something super cool. Last year I got a seat cover that absorbs sweat so you don't mess up your car! If you complete all of the races you get something even more badass. I've yet to do that because of work, but one day I will! Oh one more thing, every race is on Sunday morning at 7 am. Yikes.
I woke up at 5:30 am on Sunday morning without much problem, because I was super excited to get the series started. I had set all my gear up the night before so I was able to take my time getting ready, which is so key for me. I had a cup of coffee while getting ready, with hopes it would get the wheels turning internally if you know what I mean. If you don't know what I mean, I was trying to work up a poop. I brought a bottle with Nuun and a Picky Bar in the car with me and then I headed out to Audubon Park!
Meeting up with my Run365 friends is always my favorite part of racing, and today was no different. Our crew has been growing and it was so great to see so many familiar faces. We vary in running abilities, yet we all share a love of running! It was also exciting to see so many runners using their Runningluv, which was oh so necessary in that heat!
Every year, this series has grown in participants, and because of that, they added a corral system to the starting line. I was so pleased with this because it tends to be very crowded at the start, and I really hate weaving. I lined up in Corral 2 which was a 9:00-10:00 pace. I honestly wasn't sure what I would run, but I wanted to keep it fairly easy because of my recent leg problem.
The corrals really made the start so much better, and I found that I hit mile 1 pretty quickly. I had no pain, but it was so hot and humid that I really had no desire to pick up the pace. I ran up on my teammates, Brett and Kaci, and Brett reminded me that 2 years ago I was trying desperately to run a sub-30 minute 5k. Now my PR is 26:28, so clearly I've come a long way!
This course is a square with rolling hills, and I've run it countless times in other races. Routinely I struggle after the 2nd turn, when for some reason the humidity normally kills me. I made it through that without much problem, while listening to some dude next to me make death rattle noises. Clearly I was not pushing hard enough, and that's okay.
Right after that picture I made the 3rd turn and that's when the wheels fell off. This is where you start running straight into the fiery sun, and I was not into it. I slowed my pace a little and dumped some water on me, but I eventually had to take a quick walk break. Since I knew I wasn't going for a PR, I just wasn't in the mood to fight the heat. I picked back up running and made it to the last turn before the finish line, and decided to give a little kick to finish strong.
I ended up finishing in 29:20, way off from a PR, but what felt like an easy pace. I immediately felt guilty for not trying harder, but now I feel like going for it at the next 5k in 2 weeks. I've been super cautious because of my leg, but I feel good in saying it's back to 100%. I finished 48 of 126 in my age group, and 209th out of 714 females, which isn't awful. The good news is, I'm ready to fight for it in 2 weeks!
After I got my Nuun from the Fleet Feet truck, I headed to where my team would be meeting up. Two of our members that weren't racing were there with their son, Collin, handing out popsicles. Seriously, this was the best treat ever! I stood there chatting with them, until Collin asked me if I wanted to go sit in the shade with him. I couldn't resist this little charmer:
This little guy is my new best friend. We chatted about running and how you're supposed to say thank you when someone does something for you. I can definitely say his parents, Ashley and Loren, are doing something right with him. He is just the sweetest.
Overall, I can't complain about my performance. With running being kept to a minimum lately, and definitely no speed work, I was able to run a 9:28 pace with ease. The race itself was perfect, as it normally is, with the best volunteers and staff. My favorite time of year has started and I can't wait to rock this series!